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Why Ray Liotta's Fool's Paradise Performance Was So Incredible, According To Ken Jeong - Exclusive

Charlie Day's directorial debut, "Fool's Paradise," also serves as one of Ray Liotta's final on-screen performances, following his death in May 2022. This fact is not lost on the movie's incredible cast, which includes "Community" and "The Hangover" icon Ken Jeong. "Everyone is thinking about Ray Liotta right now and dedicating ['Fool's Paradise'] to him because this is one of his final performances, and he is so good in this movie," Jeong tells Looper while promoting the film's theatrical release.

"Fool's Paradise" tells the story of a publicist (Jeong) who is desperate to find just one successful client. Enter Latte Pronto (Charlie Day), a man who looks identical to a cantankerous movie star who is holding up production on a huge film. Together, the publicist and his muse take advantage of everything Hollywood has to offer, but they also face multiple disasters along the way. The hilarious buddy comedy is a timely dissection of the movie business, as well as an apt tribute to the importance of friendship. Plus, "Fool's Paradise" features an all-star cast, which includes the late Liotta alongside Kate Beckinsale, Adrien Brody, and Common.

To celebrate the release of "Fool's Paradise," Looper sat down with Ken Jeong to find out what it was like working with Ray Liotta on one of his final movies.

Watching an icon at work

Ray Liotta completed work on several movies prior to his death in May 2022, including "Cocaine Bear" and "Fool's Paradise," in which he plays the producer. Understandably, the actors who worked with Liotta before his untimely death remain in awe of his dedication and talent. "He's so comedically sharp," Ken Jeong tells Looper of Liotta's work on "Fool's Paradise." "You get to see his process and how committed he is and was to his craft." He continues, "There are a couple things we did in the movie, a couple of tiny scenes where we would have some exchanges — I'll take that for the rest of my life." 

While Liotta has only a few scenes in "Fool's Paradise," it's clear that the actor made his mark on the film. In particular, Jeong recounts observing Liotta on set, saying, "There is a moment in the movie, his monologue, that I don't want to spoil ... I wasn't even supposed to be there that day, and I hung out on set, watching his monologue." He continues, "It was like a page and a half. I remember watching all four or five takes of it, and he nailed it in the first take. It was certain things that he would do, and I was like, 'This is ...' He is incredible, and he is missed dearly." While Liotta never got to see the finished film, he most certainly left his mark.

Watch "Fool's Paradise" in theaters now.